The Faces of Autism: Meet "Bacon"
Meet "Bacon" (a loving nickname his family has given him), a 5 year old funny, outgoing boy that has been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. You may recognize this handsome little man from last year's Faces of Autism, and can get a refresher HERE.
"Bacon" was diagnosed with Autism at 3 years old. His parents report that "Bacon" was having a difficult time interacting with his peers at daycare, and was very physical with his classmates and his younger sister. He had an advanced vocabulary and excellent articulation, but communication was a challenge; he couldn't answer questions in the correct context or carry on a back and forth conversation. He had very little interest in creative play, didn't know how to play freely with toys, and rarely participated in play with other kids. "Bacon" was an extremely picky eater, and had a difficult time with sleep. He had frequent meltdowns, usually caused by deviations from routine or something unexpected happening, but often they didn't understand the reason for his violent or destructive outbursts.
"Bacon" is curious, loves to learn, and has an amazing memory. He is outgoing, friendly, funny and affectionate, and tries to make people happy when they're feeling sad. He's very protective of his family (especially his little sister) and takes pride in being a helper. He has intense focus when the subject interests him, and he's an excellent builder and tinkerer. "Bacon" struggles with having a strong adherence to "sameness", and he is working on flexible thinking and finding acceptable substitutions. He struggles with sensory processing, and has adopted several techniques to help him with those issues, although he still has difficulty and can become quickly overwhelmed by sensory stimuli. "Bacon" is also working on cooperative play and relationship building with his peers.
About having a child with Autism, from "Bacon's" parents:
"Having a child with Autism has given us more awareness of diversity, more appreciation for individuality, and made us advocates for vulnerable populations. Our days are filled with worry and apprehension, and we are constantly trying to predict the future to avoid potential meltdowns. However, for all his quirks, we are in complete admiration of Bacon's unique ways of thinking and doing, and his vision of the world around him."
In the past year, "Bacon" has discovered two things that have changed his world: LEGOs and Pokemon! His obsession with these two items has allowed him to bond with other kids and build relationships that previously didn't exist. LEGOs and Pokemon have created opportunities for him to play collaboratively and cooperatively with his classmates.
In the coming fall, "Bacon" will be starting Kindergarten which brings new worry to his parents about the challenges and changes he will face.
If you suspect your child may have an Autism Spectrum Disorder, there are great supports in the community. One of my favorites is BisMan Autism Families on Facebook.
Please feel free to share "Bacon's" story to help spread Autism Awareness and Acceptance.